Mercedes-Benz brings a new model (of battery) to USA homes

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Mercedes has been selling the batteries in Europe and South Africa this year, but its partnership with Vivint, announced Thursday, represents its entrance into the USA market.

German automaker Daimler AG will enter the nascent US market for home batteries through a collaboration with residential rooftop solar installer Vivint Solar Inc, the two companies said on Thursday.

The companies announced their exclusive strategic collaboration on Thursday.

Mercedez Benz joins Sonnen and Tesla in the USA market as a major battery supplier, thanks to a partnership with No. 2 solar installer Vivint Solar. Of course, Mercedes-Benz is keen to point out its batteries are thoroughly tested-identical automotive-grade battery technology is used in its electric and hybrid vehicles-and are backed up by the same German engineering that has defined the brand for years.

Daimler announced in late 2016 an expansion of its stationary energy storage business to the USA and said then initial product offerings were to be expected in early 2017. Each system consists a 2.5 kWh battery and up to eight systems can be combined together to store a total of 20 kWh of energy. The solar provider will first offer the storage systems in California, starting from the second quarter.

"Everybody's adding an energy-storage offering one way or another", said Shayle Kann, who leads GTM Research, which tracks the solar industry.

Mercedes introduced its standing battery in Germany in April 2016, but it has since expanded to the United Kingdom and South Africa.

The partnership stemmed from the wants and needs of customers, David Bywater, CEO of Vivint Solar, told International Business Times.

The collaboration marks the first time that the German manufacturer has worked with a US solar company.

For now, Mercedes will leverage its partnership with Vivint to roll out its battery in California, but it could expand to other states based on consumer interest. But in many other states, potential customers may be driven more by emotion - like feeling environmentally responsible or self-sufficient - than by cost savings. "A fully installed 2.5kWh battery system, when paired with a solar energy system will cost about $5,000", he said.

The modular nature of the system allows Vivint to customize systems specifically for each customer. The company said that once necessary permits are obtained, installation of complete systems typically takes one or two days. With solar panels charging the batteries, owners won't have to worry about racking up high utility bills or overloading the electric grid.

Von Bormann said Mercedes is committed long-term to offering customers electric products, from vehicles to home storage.

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